When we are presented with a problem, an opportunity, or a challenge, our instinct is to do something. Even Nike has adopted as its company slogan, “just do it.” Words like “action” and “proactive” fill our modern-day books and teaching on leadership and management. The fact is, few of us would attribute concepts like waiting and patience with the image of a strong leader. Strong leaders are men and women of action!
Unfortunately, waiting and patience are qualities the Lord often asks of us as His people. In fact, it could be argued that waiting is the chosen way God uses to prepare someone for leadership. Joseph waited (in prison) for years before the Lord elevated him to a position of leadership in Egypt. Moses waited 40 years before he started leading Israel out of Egypt. David waited many years between when he was chosen as king of Israel and when he became king of Israel following the death of Saul.
In Acts 1, we find the disciples waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit. They have been given a strong commission by Jesus to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). They are also experiencing the transition of leadership left by His ascension. What we find is a group of people waiting and praying. Commentators believe the Apostle Paul spent more than 10 years between his salvation and the start of his apostolic ministry.
Waiting and praying. Praying and waiting. Mix in the challenges of life’s trials contrasted with the truths of God’s word, and that is the curriculum the Holy Spirit uses in God’s School of Leadership Development.
In truth, the Bible has much to say about waiting on the Lord. Here is a sampling:
- Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.–Psalm 25:4–5.
- Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD! — Psalm 27:14.
- Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way. — Psalm 37:7.
- I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning. –Ps 130:5–6.
Learning from FFC’s Waiting Periods
Even in the short history of First Family, we have experienced the process of waiting upon the Lord. Todd has shared that the seed to plant a church in Ankeny took root in his heart in 1998. While Todd was ready, this was not the Lord’s timing. In fact, it would be six years before the Lord opened the door and First Family Church was birthed.
Through our search for a permanent home, we learned the value of waiting on the Lord. In the early years, we met at the Nevelyn Center, Ankeny Christian Academy, and Parkview Middle School. We were prepared to build on Ankeny’s northwest side. We purchased and paid for land, and started the process of planning and designing a building. But, our Elders discerned the timing was not right. They heard the Lord telling us to wait. The building was put on hold and our church prayed for direction. Not long after making the decision to stop our building plans on NW State Street, God opened the door for us to purchase our current property on SE Magazine Road.
Waiting Makes Sense in Hindsight
As is often the case, when we view life through hindsight, everything seems to make perfect sense. We often see God’s sovereign hand leading us and we see the wisdom of His waiting for His providential will. While walking through that valley, however, the waiting process can seem pointless.
Does God have you in a period of pause in your life? Maybe you are in job that is taking its toll on you or you are watching your children go through a difficult year at school. Perhaps your marriage is in trouble or you are growing weary of praying for the salvation of a spouse who is lost.
Take courage. Place your trust in the Lord and in His Word. Pray faithfully. If you need some encouragement, read in the book of Psalms. Here are a few chapters to get you started.
- Psalm 25
- Psalm 27
- Psalm 37
- Psalm 69